We are in a new era of American demographics and global politics, one that asks conservation for a new form of leadership. Version 1.0 of conservation was all about buying and protecting land because that’s what the times most needed. The language and skills of the era have been technical and legal, and its goals have often been focused on counting bucks and acres as the measure of success. We are deeply indebted to this period in the history of our movement for giving us our systems of national parks, wildlife refuges and conserved land all across the country. Conservation 2.0 is predominantly concerned with how, as a nation and a culture, we relate to that land. Conservation 2.0 is about conserving land with a new set of tools on a much larger scale; it is about restoring our cultural and social landscape, through reconnecting people and the land. The skills needed in this practice of conservation include story, dialogue, cultural competency, dismantling racism, political agility and movement building. The opportunities for change open to us in this version is an expanded membership, greater public understanding, deeper collaborations, more funding, more legislative victories, and the chance to move beyond saving individual parcels of land to re-creating a land ethic throughout our country. This is the extraordinary power of conservation today: to help create healthy people and whole communities, while at the same time build stronger, more resilient support for conservation itself.
Conservation 2.0: The Case for Whole Communities Conservation.
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